The narrative that President Biden is too old to be president isn’t holding up all that well, taking more than a few hits in recent months. Biden’s arduous secret trip to Kiev to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine while it fends off Vladimir Putin’s barbarism didn’t exactly advance the narrative. His visit to Israel while it is besieged by thousands of Hamas rockets, landing on Air Force One at an airport easily reached by the Iranian proxy’s missiles, set the narrative back even further. If this is what it means to be too old to lead the free world, one wonders whether there is anything a younger president could do to make Americans prouder.
Biden’s personal courage was accompanied by wisdom, all displayed with the knowledge that his immediate, resolute commitment to Israel would unleash rage from the predictable quarters. The leaders of Arab countries that American taxpayers help sustain nonetheless refused to meet with Biden on his Mideast trip, fearful of being toppled by the spillover of raw Jew-hatred on the Arab street. This is not Biden’s first rodeo: he tipped his cap to these leaders and stayed diplomatically mum.
Meanwhile, in order to warn the Iranian mullahs who fund and control both Hamas and Hezbollah that we had Israel’s back more than nominally, Biden moved promptly to bolster Israel’s military capacity, and sent two warplane-packed aircraft carriers to Israel’s coast. Thus far Biden’s move has restrained Iran from directing Hezbollah to unleash its 130,000 rockets from Lebanon into Israel.
Here at home, Biden has remained unbowed by his party’s hard left wing, which adjudges itself “progressive” while whitewashing Hamas’ murder and maiming of 5,000 Israelis and while condemning Israel for having the nerve to try to prevent the slaughter, decapitation, burning alive, raping and abduction from happening yet again. From the moment news emerged on Oct. 7 of the mini-Holocaust perpetrated by the ISIS emulators who brutally rule Gaza, the president has been a forceful, unapologetic voice of moral clarity, denouncing the massacres as the massive crimes against humanity that anyone with decency can see they are. By asserting over and over that the United States stands with Israel, he purposefully informed America and the rest of the world that one either backed Israel on this or stood for nothing.
Europe, host of the Nazis’ extermination of 6 million Jews, followed Biden’s lead, one hopes without too much moral difficulty. In America, Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats comprehended the obvious: if Israel cannot stop Hamas from slaughtering Israelis, then Hamas will continue to slaughter Israelis. Pretty simple.
Some in the president’s party either do not grasp the obvious or are not excessively bothered by it, any more than they have been excessively bothered by the smaller bore versions of the same thing that have been happening for the last 20 years preceding this month’s murder spree: tens of thousands of rockets fired by Hamas while hiding behind Palestinian innocents in order to kill Israeli innocents. The so-called Squad, Democratic Socialists of America and comfortable faculty and students on America’s most fashionable campuses have been perfectly down with this for years, and nothing about this latest massacre moves the moral needle for them a centimeter.
The embrace by some of Hamas’ Slaughter Incorporated isn’t merely tough to dislodge. It is impossible. When Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired a rocket from Gaza intended to kill Israelis but which instead killed Palestinians in a Gaza hospital, Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar and others bitterly denounced Israel for “targeting” the hospital. No matter that every intelligence service and independent analyst evaluating this concluded that Israel was innocent and Palestinian Jihad to blame. As always, facts present no obstacle: Tlaib, Omar and the usual sources in Hamas’ corner continue a thoroughly dishonest refrain and, to boot, condemn Biden for declining to buy the hogwash they enthusiastically buy – and peddle.
To the president’s great credit, he is not buying. And he is not pretending to do so.
Jeff Robbins is a Boston lawyer and former U.S. delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.